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For years I've been chopping up Chorizo and cooking it, with no other preparation. I've recently been told that I've been doing it wrong and should peel the Chorizo first. It's pain to peel, and I've not noticed any difference.

What is the skin of a Chorizo sausage made of, and should it be removed before cooking or not?

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+1 great question. wondered this myself as sometimes they just cannot seem to be peeled. – Sam Holder Jan 24 '11 at 9:52

10 Answers 10

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Certainly, no chorizo skin is going to poison you. On that basis, if you're happy with your results, then carry on.

I have used chorizo where the papery skin peels off quite easily -- but I have never seen a need to remove it.

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Thanks, the Chorizo I've been using only has a papery skin and I'd never thought about taking it off until someone said I should. I think I'm going to stick with leaving it on. – Andrew Wilkinson Jan 25 '11 at 15:06

It depends on what chorizo you're using. If you're using soft (i.e. uncooked) chorizo then no, you don't need to remove the skin, because it should cook with the sausage. If you are using the cured, ready to eat chorizo you should take the skin off as it will be tough.

This may well vary by brand, incidentally.

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+1. Followup question: would it typically be true that the skin comes off the cured chorizo easily and be harder to remove from the soft chorizo? I think I have had chorizo that was cured, but still had skin that was very hard to remove, but I'm not sure. – Erik P. Jan 24 '11 at 16:25
With soft chorizo it's easy to just squeeze it out - no need to try to peel it. – Jefromi Jan 24 '11 at 20:16
@ErikP., with cured chorizo it can be a bit fiddly to get the paper off. I usually make three longitudinal cuts and try to remove each of the resulting three strips of paper in one go. – Peter Taylor Mar 6 '12 at 11:22

The cured chorizo available at my local grocery store actually has a plastic skin so obviously that must be removed in order to make it edible. It also has metal clips holding the ends closed, so it's pretty clear that you're not supposed to eat it.

So, if you do choose to eat the skin, make sure it's not plastic. Again, it should be pretty obvious.

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I have seen some with the metal clips which hold the string on to the sausage, but the skin has always been papery rather than plastic. – Andrew Wilkinson Jan 25 '11 at 15:07

When talking about chorizo, it's worth specifying Spanish (papery skin, fairly dense, often cured) or Mexican (often plastic skin, loose, usually uncured). Same name for two very different products. Mexican should be peeled, Spanish usually shouldn't.

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Ah! I didn't know that there were two different products. I'm in the UK and have only ever come across the Spanish version. Thanks! – Andrew Wilkinson Mar 6 '12 at 15:26
It's not even that simple. Cured Spanish chorizo tends to have papery skin, but fresh Spanish chorizo often has similar skin to English sausages. I'm not sure whether it's real intestine or some form of plastic. – Peter Taylor Mar 11 '12 at 12:45

Slice off a chunk you need, shallow cut length ways, run under tap and ensure all skin is damp, peels away easily.

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I purchased los angelitos chorizos in NJ the casing is hard has metal on ends. it says remove casing before cooking. It makes sense-the casing is plastic and I am more concerned with bacteria.

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Welcome to Seasoned Advice, lolin! It seems that the answer to this question is very much, "It depends on what kind of chorizo you buy." – Preston Fitzgerald Jan 5 '14 at 4:44

I find the answer depends on what you are doing.

If the recipe is one where you add whole chorizos to a bean stew say, for slow boiling with the beans, then you will need to keep the skin on. This will tend to hold it together and limit oozing to either end of the sausage. the lovely paprika flavours will seep out into the stew, but the sausage will be intact for cutting up when serving.

If you are frying slices, eg before adding some mixed up eggs, like for a chorizo omelette, then remove the skin. I find this best done with a small sharp knife peeling from the ends of the sausage (the chain links naturally give you an opening when you cut through them. Put on your glasses and try and peel like an onion, ie upwards and roundwards. The skin should come off reasonably easily.

On cooked chorizo slices, prepacked, eg for tapas, appetisers, try a slice. If its rind is annoying, your decision will be to peel them.

Finally, I had some thin chorizo for grilling recently. It said so on its packet. I used it for frying into chorizo omelettes, and results wre that it was frazzled and hard. So it may be a lesson to check what it says on the pack, just in case it has a type of use.

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I have always peeled my chorizo before using because I thought they were wrapped in some kind of paper as opposed to being skinned. My brother doesn't peel his and he's still alive so I guess it's a preference thing. As for the difficulty in peeling them I have found that the more I pay for my chorizo, the easier they are to peel!!!! I don't know why this is but it seems to be the case, although the more expensive ones don't taste much different to the cheaper ones, they just peel easier.The cheaper ones usually end up with a bit of a sorry looking chorizo and the more expensive ones seem to peel really easily. I score the chorizo along its length and then peel.

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Personally, I keep it on; it tends to lose its form if you remove it, and it's just a matter of personal taste.

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It's not only extremely difficult to remove the soft casing, but it mushes up the chorizo. It really depends on what you're cooking with it. If it's going to be ground up, as in an egg dish, then squeeze it out. But the dish I make with it (my kids' #1 favorite meal!) is pasta with chorizo "balls" (more like mini sausage patties, than meatballs). It's ruined if it gets mashed up...btw, they've NEVER noticed the casing or had an issue with its taste. If it's not harmful, I'm sticking with my method!

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Judging from some of the other answers, there are several distinct things being called Chorizo here. The stuff I buy usually is loose, without casing. After it gets a little on the old side, the butcher puts what's left through his casing machine, and still calls it Chorizo. It's still mushy. Sounds like some Chorizo makers actually let the stuff in casing dry some as well. Ahh, I see Dave Griffith's got this as well. – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 28 '15 at 21:21

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